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Tips & Tricks – SurveyPro Category

Modifying a question grid to incorporate more than two scales.

In SurveyPro we offer the ability to create question grids. Question grids allow you to group questions which share a common scale together in a more compact, space-saving form. In the standard Question Grid you can incorporate up to two scales per question row. But, by using the Advanced options screens selection on the Edit Question Grid ‘General’ tab you have more complete control over content and presentation. One of the aspects that you can modify is how many scale columns are incorporated into your question grid.

For full details on how to create multi-column grids, please read our Knowledgebase article:


Cool Graphic Scales – Sliders in SurveyPro

Sliders can add graphic interest – making your survey more attractive and fun for respondents, and increase precision of answers – giving you better data to work with. This is the first installment of four tutorials on how to use the JQuery Library to enhance your SurveyPro survey with custom scales.


Sliders are an easy graphic way for someone to evaluate an item. It allows your respondents a more “fluid” feel in answering survey questions. For example:

How much do you like ice cream?

a) I Really Like It!
b) It’s Ok
c) No opinion whatsoever
d) I don’t like it
e) I REALLY Don’t Like It

If your respondent likes ice cream more than “Ok” and less than “Really!” they’re stuck between two rigid choices. They might end up choosing an answer that does not accurately describe their feelings, or decide to not answer the question at all. If we implemented a Slider for this question, the respondent would be able to slide their cursor right in between Option A and B, providing us with a more honest response to the question, and subsequently more accurate data.

Also, let’s don’t forget that sliders are fun. Never underestimate the value of a more “interactive” method of data collection for keeping respondents engaged. To see the full tutorial on how to implement Sliders into your survey see the Knowledgbase article here.

Converting SurveyPro 3.0 or 4.0 projects to SurveyPro 5.0

Here in the support department we have been getting a number of calls and EMails as many of you are transitioning to the newly released SurveyPro 5.0.  The question most frequently asked relates to using SurveyPro 5.0 with projects originally created with SurveyPro 3.0 or 4.0.  Rest assured, the update process is quite painless and even leaves your original project file unaltered.

You can convert any files to 5.0, except for files associated with live web surveys.  If you have a live web survey collecting data, please make sure not to make any changes to the SurveyPro file until the web survey is closed and all data is downloaded. Then you can convert the file to the latest release.

Simply use the ‘File Open’ dialog to navigate to the sub-directory which houses your project files.  As in the illustration below, you would then use the ‘Files of Type’ pull-down menu to select SurveyPro 4.0 (.SP4) or SurveyPro 3.0 (.SP3) from the available choices.  Once you have indicated the desired file you will get a dialog asking to confirm saving as a SurveyPro 5.0 project.  Click OK to confirm the process and convert the file.

Your original project file remains unaltered and can be safely archived.

Files of Type Dialog Window

Files of Type Dialog Window

Javascript Tools for Web Surveys

If you are a web designer, most likely you have had some experience with JavaScript Libraries, such as jQuery (http://jquery.com), or Scriptaculous (http://script.aculo.us/). If you have had experience with these libraries, you know how very useful they are. We do too!

SurveyPro surveys can accommodate jQuery or Scriptaculous functions beautifully. You can see this code in effect in our custom scale demo:


A handful of scales in this demonstration survey have been enhanced with these JavaScript libraries, including the sliders, conditional inputs, date picker and point allotment. These are just a few examples of ways we’ve been able to use JavaScript libraries to customize the initial scale created in the SurveyPro Software.

In the upcoming weeks, I will be explain how SurveyHost implements some of these tricks to SurveyPro surveys.

Counting the Uncountable – Setting Up Open-Ended Questions for Later Analysis

We often get questions from new SurveyPro users regarding the difference between the first two built-in scales, Short Countable Written — Single Answer and Short Countable Written — Multiple Answers.

Considering that they are both open-ended answers, it is easy to be confused with how SurveyPro will treat your comment type answers. The best way to look at these two scales is to compare the the feature normally only found in checkbox scales: the single checkbox answer versus the multiple response, ‘Check all that apply’ option that you can implement in a custom scale.

For a full description of differences in implementation see the Knowledgebase article here.

Quick and Easy Pop-Up Web Polls – Tutorial

We’ve created a new tutorial about how to make Pop-up web polls with SurveyPro. It includes a sample file to download and the steps to create one from scratch. These are useful for getting visitor participation on your website and helping engage your audience.

Here’s a Demo

The tutorial is here.

Using Previous SurveyPro Files as Templates for New Projects

Do you have a favorite SurveyPro project that you keep going back to, time after time, reusing and repurposing it for other projects?  Do you take last year’s project and use it as a base for this year’s project?

Reusing SurveyPro project files can be a time and cost effective way to create and publish a survey in a short amount of time.  Keeping the questionnaire editing to a minimum, you can quickly publish your survey and move on to other important business matters.  We have some “best practices” to suggest for keeping your SurveyPro project files uncluttered and lean.  Reducing the time that SurveyPro requires to generate reports and keeping the Executive Summary and Data Table Reports from showing empty report figures are just some of the benefits that a little light ‘housekeeping’ will bring.

The SurveyPro Knowledgebase article “Using Previous SurveyPro Files as Templates for New Projects” discusses how to keep your SurveyPro database lean and uncluttered with the debris accumulated over years of questionnaire modifications.

Old-School Technology for Anonymity + Ballot-Stuffing Prevention

For many sensitive web surveys, such as employee or patient surveys, there are two problems that online survey software alone can’t solve.  http://apian.com/software/surveypro/web.php

Problem #1: people only open up when they know they’re completely anonymous
Problem #2: when they’re completely anonymous, you can’t keep them from stuffing the ballot box.

Cookies and logging IP addresses are both flawed.  Cookies can be easily deleted, and both interfere with responses from people who share computers.  This is unworkable with, say, factory floor or medical staff who use a shared computer.  How to solve both problems at once for your online survey?

One way is to hire SurveyHost for third-party confidentiality.  http://apian.com/services/surveyhost/  We can send out the emails for you, with individual passwords to prevent multiple submissions.  You can tell your staff you don’t have access to the passwords, and sometimes this is sufficient for most respondents.

Or, you can go completely old school after you create your web survey with SurveyPro.  Just mail merge the passwords onto postcards.  Shuffle the postcards in front of your respondents and pass them out, one each.  Everyone knows they’re not being tracked.

Problem solved.

Web + Paper Surveys = 70% Response Rate for SurveyPro User

Postal Solutions in Belgium needed survey software for a large scale survey across 150 countries.  They found what we’ve long told our customers – when you add web options to a paper survey, you maximize your response rates.  http://apian.com/about/casestudies/postal.php

If you’re already doing surveys on the web, you know how effective it is. http://apian.com/software/surveypro/web.php  But what if you serve a population that doesn’t always have ready access to computers?  A lot of organizations think that because some of their respondents can only use paper, they need to “least common denominator” their survey and only deploy on paper.  This just isn’t true!

You can easily combine both media.  SurveyPro can do the analysis together, combining their data into integrated reports.  Just copy your paper survey, format for the web, and add a sentence at the top of your paper surveys:

“To take this survey on the web, please visit www…” 

Postal Solutions offered both media to their respondents, and got a 70% response rate.  Now if that’s not a solid endorsement…